The reason I wrote my last book, Craftsman Creative: How Five-Figure Creators Can Build Six-Figure Businesses is to help creators shift their mindset to start thinking like business owners.
The next shift is to go from business owner to CEO of a team of people who work with you and for you.
Often this means that you’re doing less of the artistic or creative work which can be delegated to others that you hire or contract, to make room for more of the business owner responsibilities.
If you started a video production company as a director, cinematographer, and editor, then you need to let go of at least two of those roles in order to make room for the responsibilities of being the CEO. Hire a cinematographer, editors, and other crew to help you if you want to be the director, but know that you’ll hit a ceiling because of the bottleneck of “your time”.
If you can only direct four projects a month, then your company can only produce four projects a month. If, instead, you decide to hire a director - or two or three - to replace you or supplement your time, then you could produce not only four, but eight or twelve projects a month.
Your responsibilities as a leader include developing the talent you hire, providing good pay and working conditions for them, and creating opportunities for growth and advancement. You take on aspects of an HR department long before you hire an HR department. These things take time, and if you spend all of your time in the day to day activity of the business, you’re neglecting your team, your company, and your future growth.
- List out all of the activities you do in a given week. You can do this from memory or you can do some time tracking for a week - every hour write down what you did during your work day. Include everything from the creative work, the emails, the meetings, everything.
- Then go back over that list and highlight the activities that only you can do.
- Go back over the list a second time and highlight (with a different color) the activities you can delegate to someone on your team. If you don’t have a team yet, think about what could be handed off to a contractor or virtual assistant.
- Go over the list a third time and cross out anything you can delete from your schedule. Activities that don’t deserve your time and attention. It could be things like scrolling social media or getting to inbox zero or systems that take way too long and need to be re/built from the ground up.
- With your list in hand, do some quick calculations to see how much time you’re spending doing work that only you can do. You may find that you’re only using 10-15% of your week for that category of work. The goal, then is to increase that percentage week over week and month over month.
- Keep in mind that 100% is an unrealistic goal, especially if your current percentage is less than 50%. You will always have new things that pop up into your schedule that you deem “only you can do”, but you’ll find out after that you could have delegated that. The goal should be to get better each week, not perfection.
- When you’re north of 80% of your time spent on work that “only you can do”, you will have freed up all of that time on “delegate” and “delete” tasks to grow your business, build new systems, invest in new assets, create new projects, partner with new investors and collaborators, and create the business that only you can build. This isn’t about growth at all costs, it’s about freedom. Freeing up your time to work on the things only you can do, and then creating a business that gives you the financial freedom, freedom of time, and freedom of purpose so that you can have the massive impact you want to have on the world.
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